KEY STEPS FOR MANAGING YOUR WORK VEHICLE AS A HOME INSPECTOR November 7, 2023 | Inspection Tips , Business Tips | inspection industry , small business By Jon McCreath, NPI, Inc.'s Technical Supervisor & Training Administrator When imagining life as a home inspector, naturally one’s mind jumps to the on-site experience of gathering photos of a house’s interior and landscape, as well as maybe climbing onto a roof or roaming through a crawl space. What people who haven’t actually been a home inspector may not realize is that a surprisingly large amount of our time is actually spent in the car, traveling between locations, especially if you’re an inspector that serves a larger or mostly rural region. Keeping your work vehicle looking sharp and in working order is crucial to running a professional, successful property inspection business. Although you may have a great system already in place, here are a few reminders about how to take care of your mobile property inspections headquarters! The Importance of Vehicle Maintenance Keeping a consistent routine of vehicle maintenance and servicing appointments scheduled should be a normal piece of your business’s expenses each year. While it may seem obvious, if an inspector’s vehicle breaks down or is delayed on the way to a job, their entire day’s schedule could be thrown off. Emergencies happen, of course, but changing plans at the last minute can come across as unprofessional, especially if it becomes a regular occurrence. One thing that inspectors can do to quickly improve their vehicle’s lifespan is to keep it covered or out of the elements whenever not in use. Inclement weather and severe wind can damage vehicles, but even direct sunlight can damage a car’s paint and interior. Whether your vehicle’s performance or just its appearance deteriorates, ensuring a reliable vehicle should be at the top of any home inspector’s checklist. Remember: Your Vehicle is a Reflection of Your Business Speaking of the vehicle’s appearance, the overall look of an inspector’s work vehicle might be the most direct reflection of their business to the outside world on a day-to-day basis. Especially after installing a well-designed, eye-catching vehicle wrap or other exterior branding, pulling up to an inspection with an attractive, clean vehicle is a great way to quickly instill confidence in agents and clients alike. While clients may not commonly see how you organize your tools or other equipment inside your vehicle, there is a decent chance that if they do see an orderly vehicle, they would assume that your other business practices are similarly well run. As home inspectors, anything that we can do to further instill confidence in our clients should be utilized. Investing in tool bags and other vehicle organizers are always wise for safety purposes since loose supplies could cause distractions while on the road, or even accidents in the worst scenarios. Keeping your vehicle clean and tidy should result in the entire process running more smoothly! Note: Safe driving should always be exercised whether on the job or off the job. With that said, reckless driving is particularly harmful to your business when you are operating a moving billboard. Inspectors, be wise and safe on the road at all times! Prepare for the Unexpected Finally, as your mobile business headquarters, your vehicle can be a great resource for emergency scenarios. Be prepared for emergencies with items like a spare tire, a jack, and a lug wrench. Keeping back-up tools would be wise as well, such as flashlights, batteries, and extra footwear for roof access. In addition, savvy business owners would be wise to keep extra marketing materials on hand to share add-on services or other promotions. Business cards, brochures, or door hangers can all come in handy, and having easy access to these items can be advantageous should the opportunity arise. The most successful business owners are also relationship builders, looking for extra chances to spread the word when the time comes. Since home inspections can vary greatly and you never quite know what you’ll come across, inspectors would also be smart to keep a first aid kit in their vehicle should an accident occur on-site. Safety of your employees and yourself should always come first, so these supplies should be considered essentials. For solo operators, it would be a smart practice to keep someone off-site notified of your schedule so that they can regularly check in. Overall, experienced home inspectors know the value of a great work vehicle. Be sure to take good care of yours for a safe and successful day-to-day operation! Interested in learning more about life as a home inspector? Request a free info packet and get in touch with our recruitment team today! About the Author Jon McCreath, Technical Supervisor & Training Administrator A former NPI franchise owner and real estate agent, Jon joined the NPI corporate team in 2019. With his inspection expertise and foundation in classroom instruction, Jon teaches and mentors new franchisees during their two-week training course in Omaha. He also handles technical support calls during and after office hours and guides franchisees through the state licensing process.